by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 at hotmail dot com
Characters: Don, Billy Cooper, Charlie
Summary: When his former partner shows up at his apartment, Don doesn't realize what he's letting in the door until it's far too late.
Spoilers: Man Hunt, Tabu
Note: This was written in response to a prompt I submitted to one of the challenge comms on LJ. It was: Vampires, Don Eppes/Ian Edgerton or Billy Cooper, Don knew something had changed but not what before it was too late.
Don had just settled himself on the couch with a beer, the rest of the two six packs within easy reach on the table, when the doorbell rang. He groaned and considered pretending he wasn't home. Since all of the lights were off and he'd yet to turn on the TV, not quite sure if he really wanted to actually, he could probably get away with it.
The person on the other side of the door wasn't having any of it, continuing to pound away, at an even greater volume.
"Coming!" Don snapped, getting to his feet.
He really wasn't in the mood for company, not after the case they'd just had, but he didn't want the neighbors complaining about the noise either. Reaching the door, he looked through the peephole out of habit and then just stared in surprise. There, standing impatiently on the other side, was Billy Cooper. What on Earth was Coop doing in LA?
Just when it looked like Coop might start knocking again, Don pulled back, undid the security chain and deadbolt, and opened the door.
"About damn time," Billy stated as he brushed in past Don.
His old partner's familiar scent washed over Don and the hand he had on the door handle clenched involuntarily at the usual wave of emotion and arousal that followed. God, he wasn't up for this, not tonight with his emotions already so frayed by the case and sheer exhaustion. At the best of times, hiding his reactions from Coop was difficult, while at the worst of times... well, he was just lucky that his partner had never noticed.
"Coop," Don greeted him, closing and locking the door before turning around to find his friend standing right behind him. "What are you doing here?"
"What? Not happy to see me?"
"That's not what I meant and you know it," Don replied, pushing past him and heading back towards the living room. "I'm just surprised."
"I wanted to come see you," Billy stated, following him and using the opportunity to check out the other's ass. How the hell did he get jeans that tight on anyway?
Don snorted as he dropped back onto the couch and took a long swig of his beer. "Help yourself," he invited, indicating the rest of the beers as he dropped his head back and closed his eyes.
Billy used the opportunity to study him closely. Don was clearly at the end of his rope and should probably be in bed but had chosen to drink instead. Billy knew him well enough to know what that meant. His last case had not been pretty and he was seeking some escape from it. Well, that was one thing he'd only be all too happy to provide his chosen, and in a permanent fashion too. It was high time Donny was relieved of his pesky soul, once and for all.
Despite the fatigue and weariness, Don still looked good enough to eat and Billy felt his mouth water at the thought of tasting the blood he could smell from here. If it tasted even a tenth as good as it smelled, it would be incomparably better than anything he'd tasted so far as it smelled divine. Between that, the strong, steady heartbeat he could easily hear and the scent of Don's arousal, it was all Billy could do to remain where he was. He'd always suspected Don was aware of the sexual tension between them and had chosen to ignore it like he himself had done at the time, but it was good to have it confirmed.
Billy shook his head, determined to do this the way he'd planned, no matter how much he wanted to just go over there, straddle his former partner's lap and attack the throat currently bared so beautifully as if Don were begging for him to take, drink.
When a few minutes passed without any sound of movement or a beer bottle being opened, Don opened his eyes and glanced at Coop. The redhead was standing exactly where he'd been before, watching him.
"What?" Don asked, a trifle of unease and self consciousness surfacing before he pushed them aside. This was Billy, not like the man hadn't seen him in far worse states a hundred times before.
Billy merely raised an eyebrow and looked at the beer on the table. "I'm hurt, have you forgotten so much about me?"
"Huh? Oh," Don replied as his mind finally kicked into gear again. "God, sorry, I'm not thinking straight."
He'd grabbed these two six packs at the gas station on the way home as they'd been on sale and he hadn't planned on really tasting them, just chugging them down on his way to blissful oblivion.
"Got some of your favorite in the fridge actually," Don stated as he got up and headed towards the kitchen.
The unease he'd felt earlier refused to fade away entirely and Don sighed in resignation. He really wasn't up for this right now. Between the dissolution of his relationship with Liz, his heavy case load and his father nagging that he didn't see enough of him, he was worn out. The last case had simply been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back as it were. All he really wanted right now was to drink and forget, not to have to watch his every word, look and gesture around Coop. The man was the best friend he'd ever had, but it was exhausting to keep his true feelings hidden.
He just didn't have the energy for that now and was afraid of making a telling misstep that could get him decked and might destroy the friendship he so treasured. So the fact that his instincts were now trying to add to his already high stress level was not cool. He knew he was in danger of exposing far too much, what more did they want?
Don had just started opening the door to the fridge when a pale, freckled hand reached around him and pushed it shut. He jumped, not having his heard his former partner sneaking up on him. He swallowed hard as he could now sense Coop's presence behind him.
"Coop- Billy, what are you doing?" Don breathed, his voice hardly more than a whisper.
"What I should have done a long time ago."
Slowly, Don turned around only to find Billy even closer than he'd guessed and he took an involuntary step back, but Coop simply followed him, invading his personal space until Don was pressed up against the wall next to the refrigerator. His mouth went dry and he didn't dare say anything for fear of what might come out of his mouth. This was what he'd imagined, fantasized about, a thousand times over the years and yet it wasn't. Something was different now, something about Coop, but he couldn't put his finger on exactly what.
"Donny," Billy whispered, so close their breath mingled.
Don groaned at the way his name sounded spoken like that in Billy's whiskey voice. Yet even as his desire spiked, so too did his sense of danger. Something was wrong here, something was very wrong here. Something with Billy. He cursed himself and his inability to simply shut off despite the fact that it looked like the impossible was true and Coop felt the same way about him. This should be a fantastic occasion and one he grabbed with both hands, but he simply couldn't, his instincts were screaming at him too loudly to be ignored.
"I think now, of all times, you really should call me Billy."
"Fine, Billy. I think-"
The rest of what he wanted to say vanished as Coop closed the remaining distance between them and kissed him. It was all hard teeth and fierce passion, a fight for dominance to which Don responded instantly, despite his shock. It was a hundred times better than he'd ever imagined, especially when Billy pressed up against him, pinning him to the wall. But even as he responded, wrapping his arm around his former partner, the sense of danger and... and wrongness increased.
"Co- Billy," Don began when they parted for breath. "What are you... we shouldn't-"
Billy cut him off with another quick, hard kiss. "Shh, you think too damn much, Donny. For once in your life, simply shut that brain of yours off and just feel."
"Nothing good ever came of that," Don replied, evading the next kiss.
"Of course you'd be able to resist," Billy growled, displeased, as he took a step back. "Goddamn, stubborn bastard!"
"You're the only one who wanted me before and yet you're the only one who can resist me now."
"The only one who can-" Don repeated, alarm spreading within him as he suddenly realized how vulnerable his current position left him. "What the hell?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Anger and frustration welled within Don and mingled with the stress and exhaustion he already felt, draining all of the arousal and desire he'd felt earlier. He closed his eyes and bit down the urge to snap at Coop as he knew it wouldn't help. Much as he'd loved the kiss, he almost wished it hadn't happened if this was the result. He moved his hand up to knock aside Coop's arm so he could put some distance between himself and the other man. The problem was, Coop's arm didn't budge and Don frowned as his instincts kept up a near deafening cry now.
"Let me by, Coop," Don demanded.
The answer stunned Don for a second and he wondered what the hell was going on. "What do you mean, no?"
"You wanna know what's going on? Here, I'll show you."
Don's breath caught in his throat as Billy bared his teeth and his canines seemed to elongate as he watched. His mouth dropped open but no sound came out as he tried to process what he was seeing. Coop merely smiled at him before he leaned in close once more.
"Mmm, you smell delicious, Don."
The words, and the sheer hunger behind them, snapped Don from his paralysis, but it was already far too late. Before he could do anything, Billy closed the distance to his neck and bit him. Don screamed as he could literally feel Coop's teeth, fangs!, sinking into his throat. This was no hickey or ordinary marking, it was a real bite and he could feel blood begin to flow. It took him another few precious seconds to realize exactly how much blood was spilling from the wound. Panic swamped him instantly as it hit him just where Billy had bitten him, the length of his elongated canines easily long enough to penetrate the thin layer of skin covering his carotid artery.
Fangs. Throat. Blood.
It took a while, but when his mind finally caught up with what was happening- the shock and stunned disbelief too much- he started to fight, struggling in vain to break free from his former partner's grasp. It was no use. Coop had him expertly pinned, as if he'd known he'd try to escape, and he now seemed impossibly strong. In the past, any advantage either of them might have possessed due to increased skill or strength had been completely negated by the fact that they knew each other so well. They could easily predict the other's moves from the tiniest of clues; a slight tensing of muscles here or the tiniest shift in posture there.
Now, however, now all that had apparently changed. Coop's strength seemed to have quadrupled and his hold was impossible to break. No matter what Don tried, he couldn't gain the slightest advantage.
"Coop! Billy, stop!"
What was going on here? What was Coop doing? Why was Coop doing this? It didn't make any sense whatsoever. He'd known Billy for over a decade and he'd never seen anything in him to even make him afraid, let alone suggest something like this. This... this... what the hell was this anyway?... attack.
Despite the pain and the feel of his blood steadily being sucked out of his body, the idea clashed with everything Don knew of the redhead. Yes, the other agent could be a bit out of control or too unnecessarily forceful with fugitives, but he'd never, never, just outright assault someone. Yet here he was, pinned to a wall with Coop drinking his blood!
The pain was slowly overcoming his shock and he struggled desperately to break free as he realized the very real danger he was in. Although he couldn't wrap his mind around Billy being the one attacking him, he was attacked often enough and his survival instincts were strong enough, to be able to react and fight despite the disbelief.
As his blood continued to flow out of his body and down the other man's throat, Don started to feel lightheaded and darkness seeped into the edge of his vision.
Still his friend remained unmoved, his grip as strong as ever despite Don's ever weakening resistance. When his hand eventually slipped from Coop's shoulder, his strength too far gone to keep it there, Billy finally relaxed his grip. Instead his right hand came up and cradled the back of Don's head and neck while the other slipped down to encircle his waist, pulling him away from the wall and flush up against Coop's body.
"Billy," Don's voice was hardly a whisper; a desperate plea to know why.
Then the rest of his strength failed him and Don went limp in the other man's arms, darkness swamping his vision. He drifted on a sea of nothingness, barely conscious, but he felt the moment Coop stopped sucking and pulled his mouth away from his neck. The blood continued to flow and he found himself unable to speak, his mouth hardly obeying his commands to open and ask his questions to learn why this was happening. All that escaped him was a low groan.
"Shh," Billy's voice reached him through the darkness. "It's okay, Donny, it'll all be better soon."
Bone deep, mind numbing cold.
It was his whole world, inescapable, all consuming, everywhere.
Don wasn't sure how long he'd simply floated in the ice, completely disassociated from any sense of time and place before his mind had returned enough to himself to become self-aware. The awareness came slowly, bits and pieces coming back to him out of context.
What had happened?
Why was he so cold? Why was he so lethargic?
He had a vague memory of Billy, or was that just a random figment of his imagination? Had he been hallucinating, perhaps? He'd heard other agents say that they'd seen or heard things after they'd been shot, mostly family and friends. Was that what had happened to him? Had he been injured on a raid?
Why was he so confused?
Why couldn't he remember?
He wasn't sure how long it took, but it was a while before Don realized that he should probably try opening his eyes or figuring out where he was. Once he thought of his physical body, it was as if a switch had been tipped and his senses were suddenly bombarding him with information. His mouth was bone dry and tasted like something had crawled inside it and died. His limbs all felt like lead and refused his every attempt to move them even the slightest. Panic was starting to set in, but it was dull in comparison to the cold. Nothing could be as powerful as the cold; it was everywhere and practically as tangible as a living thing. Even the pain radiating from his neck seemed far removed from him when compared to the cold.
Cold. Neck. Billy.
Don's eyes flew open as the memories of the kiss and what followed returned. The panic wasn't quite so dull now even if it still paled in comparison to the cold. The cold, however, now made sense given how much blood he must have lost, not to mention the leaden feeling in his limbs and the lethargy. They were all symptoms of severe blood loss.
His vision swam before him and Don had to blink a few laborious times before he could make anything out of the blur before his eyes. Slowly things resolved enough for him to make out that he was in his bedroom, lying on the bed from the looks of it. Glancing down he saw that he was indeed on the bed. What was going on here? Why was he even still alive? Coop had seemed pretty determined to kill him.
He shuddered as he thought of the bite and the way Coop had literally sucked the blood right out of his artery. What on Earth had happened to his friend to make him behave like that? What on Earth had possessed him?
"Ah, you're finally awake, you were starting to worry me there a little, Donny. I thought I'd perhaps taken a bit too much blood."
Billy stepped into Don's line of sight and crouched by the bed, looking at him. Somewhere along the line the man had changed clothes and now wore black leather pants with a tight, long-sleeved black top. Don's confusion racked up another notch as the expression on Coop's face showed concern as it had any time he'd gotten himself injured during Fugitive Recovery. Yet now it was Billy who had done this to him, who had nearly killed him and could still quite easily be the cause of his death as he was sure he'd lost far too much blood to make it without immediate medical attention.
"But now that you're awake, we can begin the important bit."
It was extremely difficult as his tongue was swollen and didn't want to move, but Don forced it to. "What?"
His voice was unbelievable weak and Don had trouble hearing it himself, but Coop seemed to have no such problems.
"Why, your conversion, of course. Haven't you figured it out yet, Donny? What I am now? Just think about it, put that brilliant mind of yours to work."
Don stared at Coop for a second before he closed his eyes, the cold and lethargy almost too overpowering to overcome. He was even more exhausted than before and the urge to simply let himself go and sleep was nearly overwhelming. The fact that it seemed like Billy had snapped and lost his mind, attacking him, only added to his desire to leave reality behind for the blissfulness of unconsciousness. Only the fact that he might never wake up from this nap kept him from giving in.
"Ah, ah, none of that now, stay with me here."
The order was accompanied by a touch to his shoulder and Don's eyes snapped open once more as he became aware of the fact that the touch was skin to skin, without anything in between. He found himself staring straight into Coop's pale face, not more than a few inches from his own. As before, his attention was drawn to his mouth, towards his teeth, and he felt fear flood him as he caught sight of the fangs again. He could still feel them sliding into his neck, drawing his blood from his throat for Billy to drink.
It was impossible, vampires weren't real, they didn't exist. And yet... and yet it made more logical sense than any other explanation he could think of. He knew Coop, knew the man better than anyone, they'd spent two years practically living in each other's back pockets and the man would never hurt him. Not unless it was to save his life or protect him from something worse. So this attack, this assault, was inexplicable on its own. If, however, he was what all the evidence was pointing towards, well, then it at least made sense, on some bizarre, freakish level.
He could just imagine what Charlie would say if he could hear his thoughts right now. His brother would think him nuts, insane, and perhaps he would be right. Maybe he was just hallucinating, the last shattered thoughts of a mind dying from blood loss and oxygen deprivation.
"Yes, that's it, Donny, you got it."
Don could only stare as Coop smiled at him, his eyes ice despite the supposedly happy expression twisting across his face. He could see it now, see what he had missed earlier despite his instincts. There was no warmth to Billy anymore. Gone was the mischievous sparkle in his eyes, the joy from his smile, leaving instead a horrible facsimile of it to taunt him with what had once been.
"Vampire," Coop whispered, caressing his chest. "It's real Donny, they really exist and I'm one of them. Bet you can imagine my surprise when I found my fugitive was not quite human. I'll tell you the details later, but suffice it to say that I managed to become immortal. He freed me from my mortal shackles and now I can do anything I want, anything at all!"
Coop's hands stopped their caress and shifted to lift him from the bed. Don couldn't so much as shiver as his body was manhandled so that Coop was behind him and he leaned back on the redhead's chest, his arms wrapped around him. Don's head rested against the other man's shoulder and he could now see more of the room. It was still dark out, so he couldn't have been out as long as he'd first thought if it was still night. How long did it take the human body to recover from severe blood loss anyway? Well, not so much as recover as regain consciousness.
The question went right out the metaphorical window when Don caught sight of the young woman laying bound and gagged on the floor. There was blood on her forehead from where she'd received a blow of some kind, but she was now conscious, looking at the two of them with wide, terrified eyes. He could only imagine what he looked like right now, half naked and skin nearly translucent due to the amount of blood he'd lost, helpless as a newborn in Coop's arms.
"What?" Don wheezed.
"Huh? Oh, her? She's for you, trust me, you'll be absolutely ravenous when the change hits you. As it is, we'll need to go hunting right away, but I figured I might as well bring you a bit of a snack to slack some of the initial thirst, take the edge off a little if you will."
The words sent a chill through Don which he tried to shake. No, it wasn't possible. Vampires didn't exist, they were mere creatures of myth and folklore. They weren't real, it was impossible!
But what if he was wrong? What if his mind wasn't crazy right now and had actually come to the right conclusion? What then? Don felt the cold dull just a fraction as his panic rose. The mere possibility of what would happen to him should his twisted suspicions be correct swamping him with a terror the likes of which he'd never felt before. Just look at Coop and all the changes wrought in him. If he was right and if Coop wasn't lying about what would happen, did that mean he'd end up as cold and vicious as Billy now was?
Would he attack the people he cared about?
The thought had Don struggling with all of his might to do something, anything. It was all in vain, he could hardly so much as twitch a finger as Coop leaned down and licked at the wound on his neck. The feel of his rough tongue on the sensitive skin and abused nerve endings caused him to break out in goose bumps and Don struggled to keep his mind focused on the need to fight, resist.
"No," he managed to say.
"No? No, what? You don't want me to turn you?" Coop inquired, surprised. "Oh, Donny, you don't know what you're saying. It's simply amazing, I can't really describe it. Just think about it, the freedom to do whatever you wish and not have to worry about any consequences. Family, colleagues, obligations, they'll all be gone shortly, even that pesky soul of yours. It'll be just you and me on the road, like before, only now we'll be off to wherever we choose to go. We can do whatever we want. We can hunt, we can feed and we can party."
As he spoke, Coop lifted one of his arms from around Don's waist and pulled back his sleeve, exposing the wrist. Don lost track of it briefly as Coop pulled it out of his sight, but then he felt the first drops on his shoulder and horror engulfed him as he realized what was happening even before the bloody wrist came back into his line of sight. He tried to struggle, to move his head away, he really did, but it was no use and Coop pressed his wrist against Don's mouth.
Unable to move, some of the blood spilled between his lips and slid down his throat. At first Don wanted to gag, the taste and smell of it enough to turn his stomach but then, as more and more of it filled his mouth, he felt a slow change and then, suddenly, the metallic liquid burst into a thousand fantastic flavors like a kaleidoscope across his tongue, a nirvana unlike anything he'd ever experienced before and he ignored everything else in favor of sucking as much of it as he could. The more he drank, the more he wanted, completely unable to slack his sudden thirst.
Don was so concentrated on the need to drink more that he didn't realize his arm had come up and he'd clamped his hand on Coop's wrist, pinning it to his mouth. Only the sudden, sharp pains that shot through his body penetrated the newly awakened bloodlust and he whimpered, biting down. A laugh reached him before the wrist was torn from his mouth and he was shoved unceremoniously to the floor.
He lay there dazed for a second, crying out before he started writhing in agony, his body burning up from the inside out. The pain and thirst were all he could feel for an eternity before he slowly became aware of something else. A smell, a scent, hot, sharp and metallic. His mouth watered and his senses scrabbled to determine where it was coming from, mindlessly seeking more.
Then there was a strangled scream, high and terrified, before his teeth sank into something soft and warm and another rush of hot blood flooded his mouth.
Charlie shivered in the cool night air as he stepped inside the large abandoned warehouse. Despite the fact that the last company who had leased it had left long ago, the building was still full of large crates and empty cargo containers, creating an echoing labyrinth full of shadows which the failing sodium lights could not illuminate.
It seemed unlikely that his brother would be here of all places, but it was to this warehouse that his math had led him. After weeks of helping the FBI look into his brother's abrupt disappearance and the investigation into the dead body of a missing Texan girl found brutally murdered in Don's bedroom, he'd finally had enough information to get something tangible out of his efforts. Charlie knew that he really should have told David and Colby about what he was going to do, about where he was going, but he couldn't. Not after the unimaginable turn the murder investigation had taken.
Don would never have had anything to do with that girl's death. It was impossible.
The worst thing of all was that Charlie knew exactly what had happened. It was obvious! Whoever had murdered the girl had also kidnapped Don. They'd found the shirt Don had last been seen wearing ripped and bloodied in the kitchen, it alone proved that his brother hadn't been a willing participant in whatever had transpired. And while it was true that the Bureau experts had confirmed that it was indeed Don's voice in the messages left on their home phone telling them not to come looking for him, he could easily have been coerced into that. Charlie knew his brother would never have done it to protect himself, which clearly indicated that someone else was in danger, perhaps another girl the killer held hostage for his brother's cooperation.
He knew that David, Colby, Liz and perhaps even Nikki didn't believe it, but Charlie had worked with the FBI long enough to know they'd be required to pass on any information he provided them with to the agents investigating the murder. To the agents who believed his brother was capable of committing that... that atrocity. His thoughts turned bitter as he thought of David and of how likely he was to actually follow protocol in this case, just like he did in every single other one. No, although he considered the man a friend, he knew that he couldn't turn to him in this case. David was not like Don, occasionally willing to ignore procedure to do that which his instincts told him were right.
All of which left Charlie here, in this abandoned warehouse, alone and without so much as a flashlight. He cursed his stupidity at not thinking to bring one along, but then shoved the thought aside, it was too late for that now. A wave of nervousness and fear suddenly blindsided him and he staggered under the weight of it, gasping desperately for breath.
What on Earth was that about? Why was he suddenly so terrified? He couldn't help but shiver as if someone had just walked over his grave despite his strongly held beliefs that no such nonsense actually existed. He steeled himself and shoved his trembling hands into his pockets, forcing himself deeper into the warehouse. There had been an old lock on the door, one easily shattered, but it proved that there shouldn't be anyone in here. So, even if his math was wrong about this place being connected with whatever had happened to Don, it should at least be empty and thus safe.
"Don?" Charlie called again.
He wasn't sure if he did it so that his brother might hear him and reply or so that he himself could have the comfort of hearing a human voice. His skin was crawling now as he reached the edge of a wide open space along the far side of the building. He'd crossed about half the distance when he heard the faintest whisper of sound behind him. Charlie whirled around, heart in his throat, and stared in stunned disbelief at the figure standing but a short distance from him. It was Don, of that he was instantly sure, but it was a version of his elder brother that he'd never seen before.
Don was dressed in black leather pants and boots and wore a long-sleeved, black top with silver highlights. The weak light of the flickering bulbs reflected off the sparkling diamond stud in his left ear. Since when did Don have an earring? Charlie wondered absently before his mind caught up with what he was seeing and he opened his mouth to say something, but nothing would come out. His brother's entire being seemed to radiate danger and his body instantly responded, wanting him to fight or flee, but his rational mind vetoed both options.
Still, Charlie stepped back as Don stalked forwards, unaccountably terrified of his own brother.
"What's wrong, Chuck? Aren't you happy to see me?" Don taunted, herding his little brother along. "I thought that was what you wanted, what you came here to see despite all of my warnings to just leave it alone."
"Donny?" Charlie questioned, his voice and body shaking as he hit a wall and had nowhere left to go.
"But then, you never did listen to me, did you?" Don continued as he closed the distance between them and planted one hand against the wall on either side of Charlie's shoulders. "Never did respect me enough to do so."
"No! It wasn't like that," Charlie denied loudly, eyes wide as he studied his brother's appearance closely.
Gone was the kind or tolerant expression he was used to seeing along with all of the warmth there normally was. Instead, Don's face was cold and harsh now, dark eyes glittering dangerously and his mouth twisted into a contemptuous sneer. The terror he felt increased markedly as he found himself unable to meet his brother's cold, hard gaze. His eyes seemed all but dead now, alight only with malice and disgust.
"Oh, 'it wasn't like that' huh?" Don mimicked cruelly, leaning forwards and laughing as Charlie flinched. "Then what was it like, baby brother?"
His mouth had long since gone dry and Charlie found he couldn't utter a word, the terror choking him. What had happened to his brother? Why was he so unaccountably afraid of him? Don would never hurt him, not on purpose... right? Before he wouldn't have hesitated, before he would have been certain, now, however, staring at the man standing in front of him, Charlie wasn't so sure at all.
"Well, genius? What was it like?"
The tone was the same he'd heard several hundred times over the years, though in a myriad of different voices from different bullies. What had happened to his brother? What had transformed him so suddenly and completely?
This didn't make any logical sense whatsoever.
Charlie shivered and it was with a start that he realized that while Don's body was only a few inches from his, he couldn't detect any body heat from him. Just then, Don's head dipped lower and he all but closed the distance between them, his eyes sliding shut as he inhaled deeply.
"Mmm, Chuck, your fear smells good."
The words sent a spike of horror shooting through Charlie and he brought his hands up to his brother's chest, trying to shove him away. Don didn't budge an inch and instead started to laugh, pulling his head back slightly. Charlie gasped in disbelief as he caught sight of the red tint in his brother's eyes and the... the fangs protruding over his lower lip. He was frozen in shock and denial and could only watch as Don caught his left wrist in an ice-cold grip. The cold jolted him awake a little, though his mind still reeled with everything that was happening.
"What? How... Donny?"
Instead of replying, his brother merely smiled at him, revealing more teeth. The terror spiked within him again, cold and primal, as Don brought his wrist up next to his own face. Ruby tinted onyx eyes locked onto his, capturing him in their fathomless gaze, even as his brother turned his head slightly, bringing his lips into contact with the captured wrist in his hand. Charlie jerked as Don's tongue darted out to lick the thin layer of skin just above his pulse point, still unable to wretch his gaze free from his older brother's. He felt trapped, shackled in some invisible prison, the bounds of which he could neither detect nor break. He could get lost in that gaze, a bottomless pit, a maze from which escape was impossible.
A path into Darkness.
Time seemed to stretch as his horror filled and terror stricken mind tried desperately to figure out what was happening. To put the puzzle pieces together into a picture that made sense, a picture which explained what had happened and why. He felt like he was spinning in circles, though, achieving nothing as none of it made any sense, least of all the most tangible piece of it. Don, standing right in front of him, like some vision from a nightmare, but real nonetheless if the feel of his hand, lips and tongue were any indication of it.
Partly to see if Don was truly there and partly to free himself from the ice-cold grip which had the promise of a horrible finality to it, Charlie reached up with his free hand and tried to shove his brother away from him once more. The effort was as successful as the first time he'd tried it and only served to make Don smile. It wasn't a nice smile, however, it wasn't the one their mother had liked so very much, but instead was cold and fierce, serving only to increase his terror and to display Don's fangs.
Terror threatened to flood his reason entirely and Charlie fought against it desperately, knowing that if it overcame him, he'd never break free from it again. He had to push it aside, to find a way of controlling it so that he could figure out what was going on here. What had happened to Don? There had to be a reasonable explanation for all of this. Something that wasn't as impossible as the myths and fantasy nonsense that was flooding his normally logical mind. Something tha-
Charlie cried out in shock and pain as Don's fangs suddenly sank into his skin. He automatically tried jerking his hand away, but Don's grip on it was like a vice and he couldn't so much as budge it.
"Don!" he cried out hysterically. "Don, stop! It hurts, Don! Why are you doing this? Stop, please."
Instead of complying, Don seemed to suck and Charlie felt his blood flow into his brother's mouth. The sensation froze him in place and he could only stare uncomprehendingly at his brother, stunned at the sudden ecstasy and delight he saw on the horribly twisted and yet familiar face.
"Don? Don, please, stop!"
"You're only encouraging him with those pretty pleas of yours," a new voice announced.
Startled, Charlie looked over his brother's shoulder to see a vaguely familiar figure approaching them. Like Don, the newcomer was dressed in black leather pants and boots, only his shirt was gold and sleeveless.
"Agent Cooper?" Charlie questioned in disbelief.
"Aw, your baby brother remembers me, isn't that sweet, Donny?" Billy questioned as he stepped right up to Don and nipped his earlobe.
Don moaned and Charlie cried out in pain as the fangs embedded in his wrist vibrated with the sound. Conversely, the pain helped him focus and Charlie watched in astonishment as Cooper's arms encircled his brother's waist and pulled him back against the redhead's chest. The movement caused Charlie to be pulled away from the wall as Don refused to let go of his wrist and instead pulled his little brother back with him. Somewhere along the line his brain must have short circuited as Charlie could only watch numbly as Don pulled his face- and fangs!- away and moaned once more as he leaned back against Cooper, his head dropping onto the other man's shoulder as Cooper's right hand started to wander across his chest while his left gripped Don's hip.
What the hell?
What was going on here?
On some level Charlie knew what was going on, knew what he was witnessing, but it didn't make any sense. Don was straight, not gay or bi! He'd never shown any interest whatsoever in men, just women and lots of them at that. Surely their parents would have noticed something if he wasn't straight. He could admit that it might have passed him by, but surely their mother would have known.
The questions only managed to distract him briefly from his wrist, no matter how much he wished he could ignore it. The vice-like grip of Don's ice-cold hand and the steady trickle of blood from the two new... puncture wounds made that impossible. Once focused back on in, Charlie could only stare in sick fascination as his blood ran down his arm in ruby rivulets. Ruby, just like the tint in Don's dark, dark eyes.
The thought had Charlie looking back at his brother and he found those eyes locked on his face, though they were half-lidded with pleasure. The cold, dead gaze was alight with a malice he'd never before seen in Don's eyes and it sent a chill through him as he tried to lower his eyes from them. The action only caused his gaze to fall on his older brother's lips, lips that were coated with a slight sheen of blood. The sight reawoke the primal terror within him and he felt the desire to Run! Hide! rise within him once more. Also coated with blood were Don's fangs and teeth, something he could see when his brother pulled his lips back in a predatory smile before he slowly licked them clean, clearly savoring the taste of his little brother's blood.
The moan was obscene and it was all Charlie could do to prevent the mind shattering fear from claiming his sanity. Cooper laughed in delight, whether at Don's moan or his reaction to it, Charlie didn't know, but he didn't really care either as he was pretty sure it didn't matter. Regardless of the reason, the other... man's amusement didn't bode well for him. He might not really know what was going on here- No! It was impossible, vampires weren't real!- but he knew that much for certain. He could feel the knowledge in his very bones, the same instinct that had tried to warn him about his brother kicking into full gear.
"Is it really that good?" Cooper inquired, speaking almost directly into Don's ear. "It doesn't smell it."
"Try," Don replied.
Although the word registered in Charlie's mind, he couldn't believe it as his brother pulled his arm even further before bending the wrist back, exposing the twin bleeding wounds to the man standing behind him. Before Charlie could so much as protest, Cooper had leaned over Don's shoulder and fastened his own mouth on his wrist. He screamed as he felt another pair of fangs slide into the wounds and began to drink his blood. Thankfully this time it was much briefer than before, Cooper quickly pulling back and licking his lips.
"Nope, I don't see the appeal. It's not bad, but it's just blood, like anyone else's."
Charlie's eyes widened in horror at the words and the implications behind them. No! It simply wasn't possible, damnit. Vampires didn't exist! They were a myth, a legend, a fantasy creature created by primitive people afraid of the dark and needing to explain that which they didn't understand: disease, war, bloodlust and death. It was a mixture of a blood disease and the barbarity of various warlords like Vlad the Impaler. The only cure for the former was to drink animal blood and the latter had been sociopaths in positions of power. That was all it was, because vampires just weren't real! They were illogical and he didn't believe in such nonsense.
"Yours, however, yours is exquisite," Cooper continued, scraping his fangs along Don's exposed neck. "I don't think I can ever get enough of it."
Unable to tear his eyes away, Charlie watched in sick fascination as blood welled to the surface of the two shallow cuts Cooper had made along his brother's neck. Although he knew it was coming, he jumped when the other man licked it off, his facial expression indicating that he hadn't lied about how much he enjoyed the taste of Don's blood.
"Hmm," Don hummed, licking at Charlie's wrist again. "Perhaps it's not the blood itself so much as the fear and desperation."
"The control?" Cooper suggested.
Those ice blue eyes, also strangely tinted with ruby, were suddenly locked on him and Charlie felt his breath freeze in his lungs. They were the eyes of a predator assessing his prey... just like Don's had been earlier. He swallowed hard at the realization, not having wanted to or allowing himself to see it before. It was his brother damnit! This shouldn't be happening.
"Yeah," Don agreed languidly, settling back more firmly against the body behind him.
His wrist was finally released and it fell to dangle uselessly at his side. For the life of him, Charlie couldn't bring himself to stem the blood flow or to so much as move a muscle. It was a primitive instinct, the logical part of his mind whispered to him, a reaction to being caught in the all seeing gaze of not one, but two, powerful predators just hoping he'd give into the fear and try and run. He'd never make it, he suddenly knew, he'd never escape and probably wouldn't make it very far, but they'd love the attempt nonetheless. They'd love the thrill of the hunt.
And since when was he thinking of his brother as an dangerous animal?
The realization was jarring, but the disassociation between Don and the... the... the thing which stood before him wearing his brother's image, his skin, helped. If he didn't think of it as his brother, but rather as a being from which he needed to escape, he could think a little more rationally, well, so long as he didn't think to closely about exactly what he suspected they were.
"First he begs to be let go, for you to stop, and now he stays put," Cooper said, nuzzling Don's neck. "Perhaps he liked it? Liked having you drink his blood. Is that it, baby brother?"
"No!" Charlie denied, taking an automatic step away.
His right hand now came up and closed around his injured wrist, belatedly attempting to stem the flow of blood which still ran from the wounds Don had inflicted. His brother's eyes followed the movement and he licked his lips in a way that made Charlie's blood run cold. He edged further away, sure that any instant one or both of them would pounce and bite him again. Instead the two seemed content to remain where they were, touching each other, though their eyes remained on him.
When Cooper's hand slipped beneath his brother's shirt and Don moaned, Charlie forced his eyes away and turned his back to them. He was starting to think that it really didn't matter whether or not he was facing them, either man could have easily outrun and overpowered him before... before whatever had happened to alter them had transpired. No, seeing them was simply an illusion of safety, one he'd prefer not to have if it meant seeing the horrible caricature of his brother and their twisted parody of affection.
There was a soft whisper of sound behind him, of swishing fabrics perhaps, and when Charlie whirled around he could only stare in shock at the empty section of the warehouse. Don and Billy had seemingly vanished into thin air and he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as fresh fear flooded him. Was this what it felt like to be hunted? To be prey? He had a flash of Don's fangs sinking into his wrist and of him drinking his blood and it was all he could do not to turn around and flee. Fear and running only encouraged predators, he knew, but did that really apply here? With... them?
The feel of eyes on him, of being watched, was the last straw and logic fled his mind as Charlie turned and ran.
"Oh, fine," Billy said morosely as he watched the mathematician turn tail and run. "Well, that was anticlimactic."
Don simply watched his brother flee, falling twice in his sudden haste to get away. He nearly laughed both times, thinking of how Charlie simply hadn't been able to resist coming here in the first place, determined to see him.
"Be careful what you wish for," Don whispered softly, laughing.
When his brother was finally out of sight, Don took a deep breath, enjoying the heavy smell of fear which still permeated the air. He savored it for a few minutes before he turned to look at his lover with intent, aroused by their earlier display and his baby brother's fear.
"You're going to regret it, letting him go," Billy declared knowingly.
Don merely shrugged before he stepped into his sire's arms, playfully nipping at his neck. "Yeah, maybe," he licked along the skin where Billy's pulse point had once been. "But just think of the fun it'll be if I do. Instead of having a cornered and terrified little rabbit, we'll be able to hunt him down properly. Perhaps he'll even have realized the truth by then and have some understanding of what we can do to him," another nip. "Of what we are and just think of how terrified he'll be then," with those words, Don sank his fangs into the tender flesh.
Billy arched his neck, granting his chosen more access, his hand coming up to grasp his hair viciously. "Have I ever told you that I like the way you think?"
I know, I know, bad me for responding to my own prompt. What can I say? After coming up with it, the bunny refused to leave me alone, not all that uncommon for me and hence the reason I don't normally submit prompts.
Besides, vampire!Don and vampire!Billy, both in leather, how was I to resist? It was a battle that was lost long before it even started.
As for the title, yes, I know bloodlust is normally spelt as one word. I split it as a play on both 'bloodlust' and to emphasize both words, as both 'blood' and 'lust' are big themes in this dark little vignette.
Can I also state that I had far, far, far too much fun with this? As with the vast majority of my fics lately, this one took on a life (unlife?) of it's own and grew well beyond my original idea and intentions. Still, it was a guilty little pleasure.
I just hope you guys all liked this dark little bunny as much as I enjoyed toying with it.